Pope Benedict XVI: Faithful Man of God and The Church
reality of what our Holy Father is doing is unveiled through the cross of Christ. It is in contemplating the sacred crucified body of our Beloved that the light begins to flood in.
Pope Benedict is, then, not resigning because of a decision that he himself has made. Rather, he is complying with the will of God as he has discerned it. As the Vicar of Christ, as a faithful man of God and a man of the Church, the Holy Father is saying "yes" to God's will, as did the sweet Virgin Mary at the Annunciation and to the cross of her Son. Pope Benedict, in an act of humility that we would all do well to imitate, is doing exactly what he believes is best for the body of Christ -- not, on the other hand, what he thinks is best for himself.
Perhaps this one sentence from Pope Benedict's encyclical letter Deus Caritas Est sums it up: "Whoever loves Christ loves the Church, and desires the Church to be increasingly the image and instrument of the love which flows from Christ" (33). Pope Benedict is decreasing so that Christ may increase and his Church may continue to flourish.
Having said all that, I am compelled to say how much I will greatly miss Pope Benedict XVI. How his pearls of wisdom I have so often read and cherished in my heart, how his profound insight, the beauty of his words, the softness of his humble voice -- a voice that issues forth from a razor sharp intellect -- and his benevolent demeanor will be missed. Further, among all his words, I will always cherish his numerous wise and edifying messages tempered with hope:
"The life and work of all believers should bear constant witness to the transcendent, point to the invisible realities which lie beyond us, and embody the conviction that a loving, compassionate Providence guides the final outcome of history, no matter how difficult and threatening the journey along the way may sometimes appear."
I am also compelled to say, and remind myself, that Pope Benedict is not leaving; he is resigning. As Christians, although we may lose sight of one another or no longer hear the voice of those we love, we are never apart for we live always together as Christ's one body. As Pope Benedict embraces the sublime life of contemplative prayer and silence, he will be praying for me and for you, for the holy community of the Church and for the entire world, and we will be praying for him. We will be together. As one. Always.
F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows the Catholic Church transmits the fullness of truth and offers the fullest means of salvation; therefore his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at joyintruth.com
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Pope Benedict XVI resignes, resignation of pope, benedict's resignation, the Holy Father, Catholic Church, love of Christ, Christ and his Church, F. K. Bartels
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